does Robben Ford just understand music better than other players ?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by stumphead, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. stumphead

    stumphead Member

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    seems like whatever he is playing there is an extra element to his music.
    do you think its just natural talent or he has a deeper musical theory than 99% of other players ?


     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  2. Jazzandmore

    Jazzandmore Gold Supporting Member

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    I’ve been to his multi day class. No indication in what he says that he understands more theory than other great players.

    Theory is very easy to learn. Playing music at a very high level with an individual style that is instantly recognizable and respected by other high level players/peers takes more than knowing theory.
     
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  3. therhodeo

    therhodeo Member

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    How much theory do you think is required to play something like that? He's a guy who plays blues with some jazz inflections. He's a great player but even he himself would never say that that performance was some pinnacle of theory application.
     
  4. Hack Prophet

    Hack Prophet vile mighty wretched Silver Supporting Member

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    Not at all. He just has better phrasing than what most power blues rock fans are used to hearing imo.
     
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  5. Jazzandmore

    Jazzandmore Gold Supporting Member

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    He also understands how to play the changes. Meaning he doesn’t just use one scale for the whole song. Instead he actually pays attention to what the chords are and how different scale tones sound against the chords.

    Many players never bother learning how to play this way.
     
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  6. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    Does "understanding of music" have to refer to theory, I would ask after reading the few posts so far?
     
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  7. ChazFromCali

    ChazFromCali Member

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  8. Misterbulbous

    Misterbulbous Member

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    I wish I had his knowledge, but he also started out immersed in the roots of rock and grew from there. I know he was pretty infatuated with Bloomfield and others around that time.
     
  9. stumphead

    stumphead Member

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    I ask because I can hear that he is playing more diminished scales than other blues players. thought he might be doing something special theory wise
     
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  10. Banditt

    Banditt Supporting Member

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    My Favorite player, and I've had the pleasure to attend his Clinics, and wrap with him at lunch. Like many great players...his love is horn players. Sax players have better phrasing, timing, and sense of melody than your average guitar player. He will be the first to admit, that he was in WAY-over his head when he was in his early 20's moving up playing with World-class Musicians. But he LISTENED, and took things from everyone he played with, sought his own direction. In talking to him, you get a sense that he knows theory enought to describe to other Musicians what he is doing, but he doesn't think in those terms when he comes up with what he plays. He's a cool kat if you show him the coutesy that he shows you.
     
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  11. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    I think its more about your perception of his talent, the talent of an artist that you obviously like, than it is about his actual talent, which is considerable, but not, imo, way above the talent level of other jazz/blues guitarists...
     
  12. Jazzandmore

    Jazzandmore Gold Supporting Member

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    You can see him online talking about how he uses the diminished scales for certain applications.

    One thing not to forget, he also played sax at a young age and played for years while also learning guitar. No way that didn’t influence his style.
     
  13. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Sounds like he is vacillating between major and minor pentatonic with some choice passing tones here and there. Maybe some modal something or other around 3:00?
    Pretty straight up for Robben if you ask me...
    Most of these players have unlocked the keys to chord tone soloing and have stuff memorized (and licks built around it) like I should but I'm too ****ing lazy and don't actually practice enough... just play what my songs require and gig.

    They always work out cool stuff surrounding the V chord turnaround as well, whole tone scales, diminished, etc. Again, just need to take the time to practice and formulate some of those ideas to go from blah blues/rock player to something more.
     
  14. Drak

    Drak Supporting Member

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    I think it comes down to the fact that it's his job, just like you're good at your job.
    You do it every day for decades, how can you Not be really good at it?
     
  15. Barquentine

    Barquentine Member

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    I was watching him talking about diminished scales the other day and he said that he was playing that stuff way before he found out about any of the theory behind it. He discovered it by listening and experimenting. I'm nowhere near his level but I was playing mixolydian and dorian stuff for years before I found out what it was - I'm sure the same goes for a lot of us of a certain age.
     
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  16. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    I think one thing about his playing is that he is able to apply various theoretical things to, say, blues, that are a bit outside of typical blues playing, yet not having them sound academic, or giving the impression that he's thinking "here's this bitchin' scale I know."
     
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  17. harmonicator

    harmonicator Member

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    His time is super solid. He's not that harmonically complex.
     
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  18. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Member

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    Chops, experience, and a great ear. That's what I always chalked it up to besides talent. Maybe a truckload of hard work?
     
  19. Rotten

    Rotten Silver Supporting Member

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    I asked him this question when I was in high school. Must have been around 1983. It was a summer guitar camp. He basically said that he copied his phrasing from horn players, not guitar players. He has repeated that in interviews since that time. It makes sense. I think as guitar players we tend to gravitate to scales and blues boxes -- things that lay out nicely on the fingerboard. Playing arpeggios and horn lines is more of a physical challenge to play cleanly, but I think that's why his playing sounds different than a lot of his peers.
     
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  20. MuddyDitch

    MuddyDitch Member

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    I particularly enjoy his rhythm playing, plenty of space, uncluttered, great accompanist. He makes his statement and then fades back for others to do their thing. And then there's Jing Chi; just :).
     
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